THE INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP OF COLLEGIATE

A CAPPELLA

DEAR FRIENDS,

 

Welcome to Varsity Vocals’ 23rd season! Our enthusiasm for the art of a cappella is greater than ever after almost a quarter century of presenting the best student groups on stage and in the studio.

Our tournaments have grown from a handful of events to the massive showcase they are today, featuring more than 650 groups and 9,800 singers at 87 events across North America and the United Kingdom.

Our original tournament inspired the hit movie Pitch Perfect, based on the nonfiction book documenting the true story of rival groups competing against each other in our very own ICCA. The Pitch Perfect franchise remains the highest-grossing musical series of all time.

The stories of our real ICCA competitors are also the subject on the TV docu-series Sing It On, which follows competing groups on their journey to ICCA Finals. Sing It On aired in 80 million homes on POP TV and enjoyed a long stay on Netflix.

Despite the incredible growth and mainstream popularity we’ve enjoyed, our focus remains sharply on the promotion and development of the talent that crosses our stage. We believe competition fosters growth, as groups work together toward a specific goal and cultivate lifelong friendships. 

We provide top-notch feedback from our highly qualified judges – but more importantly, our singers get to connect with a larger audience from across the country, learning from their peers and finding inspiration in other groups.

With those same goals in mind, we were thrilled to launch the International Championship of A Cappella Open two years ago. “The Open” (#AcaOpen) is an all-access a cappella tournament that brings together singers of all ages, regardless of student status, to compete on an international stage for a chance at $25,000. Its third season will kick off this summer.

We hope that over the years, The Open will encourage the growth of professional a cappella, much in the way the ICCA helped catapult competitive a cappella into the mainstream in Pitch Perfect and Sing It On, or how the development of the ICHSA contributed to the rapid growth of high school a cappella programs across the country. 

This is the biggest program extension in our long history, and we think it’s a natural one. After all, our founding goal was “to inspire young people to sing their entire lives.” If we want people to keep singing past the age of 22, well, they’re going to need a stage, right? 

We have seen a cappella make great strides from where it began on our stage 23 years ago, and we can’t wait to see where our 2019 season takes us. Committed to promoting our singers and energized by the great music they create, we look forward to another memorable season. Thank you for joining us!

Sincerely,

Amanda Newman
Executive Director

ICCA SOUTH QUARTERFINAL

 

University High School
Sunday, February 10, 2019

WE'RE SOCIAL

 

We're talking about this event, and all of our events around the world!

varsityvocals

@varsityvocals

@varsityvocals

Follow us @varsityvocals on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, and join the conversation using #ICCA and #ICHSA.

ABOUT VARSITY VOCALS

 

Since 1996, we have encouraged students worldwide to sing a cappella throughout their lives. Our programs include the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA), the International Championship of High School A Cappella (ICHSA), and the International Championship of A Cappella Open (The Open). We also annually produce The Best of College A Cappella (BOCA) and The Best of High School A Cappella (BOHSA) compilation albums.

Our a cappella competitions give top-notch a cappella groups the opportunity to showcase their talents for an international audience and to take home valuable feedback from our qualified judges. This year, competing groups will appear in venues all around the world, offering their energetic musical performances for your enjoyment.

The college tournament takes place from January through April in nine regions across the country and around the world. Each region holds anywhere from three to five Quarterfinals, and the top groups from each Quarterfinal advance to the Semifinal. The winning group at each Semifinal is named Regional Champion and advances to the ICCA Finals in New York City.

The high school tournament is now in its 14th year and continues to grow fast. We are now holding Quarterfinal rounds in all of our regions, and the 2019 season will feature the largest high school tournament field in our history. The winners of each of seven Semifinal rounds will advance to the ICHSA Finals at The Town Hall in New York City.

The Open Tournament took place for the second time ever in summer 2018 and featured six semifinals that lead to the Open Finals featuring those six Regional Champions, two Wild Card Champions, and our 2018 ICHSA and ICCA Champions. Those 10 groups competed at Carnegie Hall in New York City this past September.

 For a full tournament schedule, visit us at 
www.varsityvocals.com.

ABOUT TONIGHT'S SHOW

 

The performance order was determined by random draw this afternoon and will be announced from stage.        

Tonight’s performers will be evaluated on elements of their vocal and visual performance, which carry numerical weight. The highest and lowest score from the individual judges will be dropped for each group. Our judges may recognize exceptional performances with special awards as they see fit.

There will be a 15-minute intermission. After the final group has performed, a guest performer will entertain you while the scores are tabulated.

Because each group only has 12 minutes to perform, we ask you to keep your applause to an enthusiastic minimum between songs. Please feel welcome to applaud as much as you want after each group has finished its set.

Videotaping and non-flash photography for personal use is permitted during the concert, so long as you do not disrupt our performers or other patrons. Due to licensing regulations, we do not provide a video or audio recording of this performance.

TONIGHT'S COMPETITORS

 

BisCaydence is the oldest a cappella group at the University of Miami and is so excited to be returning to the ICCA stage. The group was created in 2011, deriving its name from Miami's Biscayne Bay and the musical term "cadence.” They perform all over south Florida and have traveled throughout the Southeast region to perform and compete. They specialize in pop music, but have been known to dabble in a variety of genres, including alternative rock, folk, indie, funk, and EDM. BisCaydence cannot wait to bring a wave of fresh Miami sounds your way. 

EnsemBULL is a fourth-year a cappella team at the University of South Florida. This organization was created in October 2015 and was founded entirely on a dual passion for community service and musical performance. EnsemBULL is composed entirely of non-music majors. EnsemBULL has performed at community service events such as Stampede of Service, Relay For Life, Charge, and the Walk To End Alzheimer's. EnsemBULL regularly performs the national anthem for USF soccer games, created and perform as a flashmob at the International Mall in Tampa for a surprise marriage proposal, and opened for singer/dancer/actress Amara La Negra of "Love and Hip-Hop: Miami" during her tour stop at the University of South Florida. EnsemBULL members are grateful to have this group as a creative outlet to make beautiful music and have a fantastic time hanging out together. This is EnsemBULL's second time performing at the ICCA and they are proud to represent their university.

Hailing from Orlando, Fla., Gemini Blvd. is the University of Central Florida's first co-ed a cappella group. Gemini Blvd. embraces the individuality of each of its members, which contributes to the unique style and persona of the group as a whole. These talented and loving singers recently released their second studio album, Impact

Based in Orlando, Fla., Mixed Mode is a mixed a cappella ensemble hailing from the University of Central Florida. Mixed Mode was created with the intent to craft innovative soundscapes with the power of the voice and mouth. After recently wrapping up a very successful and intense year of competition, Mixed Mode is ready to take the ICCA stage again! 

Phoenyx is the University of Miami's newest co-ed competitive a cappella group. This will be Phoenyx’s second year in a row competing in the ICCA. They are working apply to more competitions in addition to the performances they have on campus each semester. Last spring, they teamed up with the artist Frenship and Columbia Records to do a promotional video for their new song, “LOVE Somebody,” on Valentine’s Day. They love the group’s sense of family, as well as working with the other a cappella groups on their campus! They perform mostly pop music, but will sing other genres, including a few originals! 

Originally formed in fall 2008 as an all-female a cappella group and re-branded in 2015, So Noted is now one of the four award winning, co-ed groups at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. With its background as an all-female group, So Noted creates its full and unique sound with only a few male voices in a majority female group. They have previously competed in the ICCA, and won 3rd place at last year’s South Quarterfinal, as well as Outstanding Soloist for the second time in the last three years. The group also attends festivals and performs on and off campus. So Noted is all about selflessness and family. They believe that the best music is made when you are thinking of how music can impact the people around you.

Tampa Tones from the University of Tampa was founded by musical theatre majors seeking voices from different interests and hobbies that shared the same passion for a cappella music. Tampa Tones is brand-new, having just formed in the fall of 2018. They are excited and thrilled to share their music with their fellow students on campus. I addition to this ICCA debut, they perform in on-campus events, hold their own Christmas concert, and are preparing for another concert this spring. They’re grateful for the opportunity to perform and wish the best of luck toward all of the teams competing this year! 

Founded 13 years ago by a group of music-loving guys, The Crescendudes have been providing entertainment and great music ever since as UCF's longest-running and only all-male a capella group. Fueled by Oreos and Steak and Shake, The Crescendudes are looking to up the ante and provide a powerful, memorable performance at this year's competition, emphasizing passion and percussion in their set. 

Tones of Gold is a co-ed a cappella group that began as an alternative choir ensemble at the University of South Florida. For students who simply enjoyed singing and wanted to practice music, Tones of Gold provided a non-auditioned option place of the choral ensembles at the school of music. Starting in 2017, Tones of Gold has shifted gears and focuses on being a competitive, collegiate a cappella group that performs on and off campus. It is now an auditioned group that includes both music majors and non-music majors who strive to display the newly branded a cappella group for performances and competitions.The first co-ed competitive a cappella group formed at USF, the group is frequently featured at events, showcases, and chorus concerts. Tones of Gold aims to implement different musical styles and genres to create a sound that identifies who they are, while drawing inspiration from current pop artists. They strive to grow, learn, and have fun every time they get together. Outside of rehearsing, they love spending time together while eating food! Tones of Gold is grateful for every opportunity they have to make music and loves being creative together.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Lauren Menendez-Barreiro has a degree in music from Florida State University, where she began her a cappella career singing with The FSU AcaBelles, eventually becoming music director from 200910. After leaving FSU, Lo pursued a professional career in a cappella as a sought-after adjudicator, arranger, and clinician, working with The Vocal Company, the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA), and Varsity Vocals. She founded the professional group Musae and sang with them until 2013. Currently residing in Tampa with her husband, Lo is happy to be returning to the a cappella community. 

After winning the ICHSA championship title in 2010 with Limited Edition, Brian Brammer went on to earn his B.M. in commercial vocal performance from Belmont University. Brian has been performing professionally in the United States and Europe for nearly a decade, including work on cruise ships, regional premieres in New York City, and in the Orlando Fringe Festival. Currently, Brian plays the role of Crush in “Finding Nemo the Musical” at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Brian has studied jazz music with many renowned directors and arrangers in the industry, including Steve Zegree, Kirby Shaw, and Sandra Dudley. 

Holly McWilliams has been involved in competitive vocal music since high school, singing with the All Region and All State choirs and placing as first chair for her voice part two years in a row. She matriculated to University of Tennessee, where she studied vocal performance under the direction of Andrew Wentzel and took part in choral activities under Dr. Angela Batey. She also was a founding member of reVOLution, an all-treble a cappella group, with whom she competed in ICCA and placing 2nd at ICCA South Semifinals. She taught private voice and piano lessons for a number of years prior to her current position as the Choral Music Educator for The First Academy. There, Holly teaches the middle and high school choirs a diverse repertoire of musical genres, from choral classics to musicals to contemporary a cappella.

Katharine Mosher has been involved with a cappella since high school, where she sang with the Mello Divas. She earned her Bachelor of Vocal Music at Loyola University Chicago in 2014, where she was a member, arranger, choreographer, and music director of The Silhouettes. Katharine was featured in two albums recorded with The Silhouettes, as well as an album with The Master Chorale of Tampa Bay. This past summer, she began working for Deke Sharon and Brody McDonald at Camp A Cappella. Currently residing in Tampa, she teaches 2nd grade, elementary choir, and loves to provide workshops for a cappella groups.  

Nick Powers is the chorus director at Lake Brantley High School. Previously, he was the chorus director at both Pine Ridge High School in Deltona, Fla. and Central Middle School in Melbourne, Fla. Nick was the founding director of the high school a cappella group, Acapocalypse, which has placed at ICHSA Quarterfinals and Semifinals. He is an active a cappella arranger and choral judge and clinician around the state of Florida. He holds his Bachelor of Music Education from Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, Ohio. 

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank our judges, hosts, competitors, volunteers, partners, and producers; and you, the audience, for supporting Varsity Vocals programming.

 

Amanda Newman
 Executive Director

Dave Rabizadeh
 ICCA Director

Andrea Poole
 ICHSA Director

Lucy Jacobs
The Open Director
 ICCA West Producer

Andrew Poole
 Director of Digital Media

Erica Tackett
 Director of Marketing & Social Strategy

Emily Flanders
Director of Adjudication
 ICCA Great Lakes Producer

Emily Sucher
 Director of Publications

Virginia DeMoss
 Album Production Coordinator

Sara Yood
Senior Producer

Helena Benthall
 ICCA United Kingdom Producer

Holli Kitching
ICCA Mid-Atlantic Producer

Lindsay Howerton-Hastings
 ICCA South Producer

Leah Alrutz
 ICCA Midwest Producer

Courtney Jensen
 ICCA Southwest Producer

Holly Hayes
 ICCA Northeast Producer

Arvin Zabalerio
ICCA Central Producer

Elise Hackl
 ICHSA Midwest & Southwest

Producer

Matt Shirer
 ICHSA West Producer

Riley McMahon
 ICHSA Great Lakes Producer

Jillian Kimberlin
 ICHSA Mid-Atlantic Producer

Evan Powers
 ICHSA South Producer

Nicole Kohlweiss
 ICHSA Northeast Producer

OUR TEAM

 

We have an amazing team of people who work tirelessly to make our programs so valuable for our singers and audiences alike — and they all do it while holding down full-time day jobs, too! 

 

The top two finishing groups advance to the ICCA South Semifinal!

BRING THE HARMONY HOME

 

Find your favorite groups on The Best of College A Cappella (BOCA) and The Best of High School A Cappella (BOHSA), available for purchase on Apple Music and Amazon Music!

VIEW ALBUMS

varsityvocals

THE OPEN

 

The International Championship
of A Cappella Open

ARE YOU READY?

Carnegie Hall
 Saturday, October 5, 2019